What to do? What to do?

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alicemouse's picture
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What to do? What to do?

Hi friends!

I have a dilemma for a conference WDW trip I'm taking in late Feb./ early Mar. or next year. Any thoughts & advice would be much appreciated!

Problem #1: To get an AP or not. I currently have a 3-day sports ticket for the trip I am taking with my cousin and my bestie in November. I THINK I can swap it for an AP. Cost of ticket was $216. For the conference, I would probably either buy 4 after 4pm tickets ($252) or 2 2-day after 2pm tickets ($276). Total ticket cost for two trips = $468-$492. A DVC AP is currently $529. There is a somewhat reasonable possibility that we will take our nephew to Star Wars Weekend in May of 2016. Then of course, there is a good possibility that we will be coming down for the meet up at least for a few days. If we do both of those things, it's worth it to have an AP. If we end up having to scrap them for financial reasons, it will have not been beneficial from a purely cost persecutive to have the AP unless I buy at least $370 worth of merchandise or food that offers an AP discount. If we end up making all 4 trips, I will definitely save a ton of money by buying the AP.

Should I buy the AP just in case? If I wait and buy one starting SW weekend, it will be valid for longer and I'm getting a really good rate on both he sports package park tickets for November and the conference park tickets for March. BUT--we will hopefully do some sort of big traveling trip in 2017--hoping for Hawaii, Alaska, Northern Europe, or (dare I dream) Adventures By Disney. Even with an AP, I'd probably be too broke to do a Disney trip in 2017 if we do a big trip elsewhere.

Problem #2: We have 12 DVC points left for 2016. Our Use Year is March, with means that for the first two nights of the conference, I would have to borrow the difference in points in one-time-use points or rent points from David's or something. From March 1 onward, I could use our 2017 points. I have to make those 2017 points stretch through three trips if we can swing Star Wars Weekend and the Big WDWFG Meet Up. I would use approximately 56-85 points of our 200-point allotment depending on where I stay. Also, the first two nights lodging would cost me $240 or more in one-time-use points--and I don't know if I can even do that because there's a limit to how many points you can buy and I forget what it is. The conference is at Swan & Dolphin, so the only convenient options are Boardwalk and Beach Club. However, OKW is the best use of points. If I stay at OKW, I'll have to bus to DHS and walk or boat to the conference every morning. Evenings wouldn't matter because I'll be commuting "home" from a park.

Another option is to get a cash room. Currently a room at All-Star would cost me around $675 for the nights that I would need. I don't know what if any sales will be available at that time. Also if I get the AP, there may be an AP room rate available. The benefit of getting a cash room is that the room expense would be a tax write-off AND I would earn a (very small) commission off of the sale. Using my DVC points would cost me nothing out of pocket, but then I don't get to use those points at a later date and I don't think I can write off the cost of using my personal vacation club points for business use.

So as you can see, it's a complicated situation and I'm kind of at a loss how to get the best bang for my buck without breaking the bank and without decimating my DVC points. Thanks for taking the time to read and help me to think outside the box. I look forward to your suggestions!

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

crazycatperson's picture
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The difference between $468-$492 and $529 is not so great that I wouldn't be willing to take the chance and get the annual pass if I was reasonably sure I could make the Star Wars trip and the meet-up trip.

Then I'd spring for a value resort room for the conference and save the DVC points for the really fun trips.

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I completely agree with Jan.

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crazycatperson wrote:
The difference between $468-$492 and $529 is not so great that I wouldn't be willing to take the chance and get the annual pass if I was reasonably sure I could make the Star Wars trip and the meet-up trip.

Then I'd spring for a value resort room for the conference and save the DVC points for the really fun trips.

I agree with this too. Good luck with your decision.

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I agree with Jan, Jan and Robyn.

JoAnn C's picture
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alicemouse wrote:
Problem #1: To get an AP or not. I currently have a 3-day sports ticket for the trip I am taking with my cousin and my bestie in November. I THINK I can swap it for an AP.

I'm guessing you mean upgrade to an AP from the 3-day sports ticket??? I am not sure that you can. I got my ticket for DL when I went out for Tink through Get Sports Travel and I'm pretty sure it said on the ticket it can't be upgraded. I have to find where I put in an double check for you.

I remember someone on here saying they were told they could upgrade when they bought the ticket. When they went to upgrade they were told they couldn't. In true Disney fashion, they did upgrade it.

I agree with the others about paying out of pocket for the room, especially if you can write it off. Are there any special room rates at the Swan & Dolphin for those attending the conference?

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alicemouse's picture
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JoAnn C wrote:
alicemouse wrote:
Problem #1: To get an AP or not. I currently have a 3-day sports ticket for the trip I am taking with my cousin and my bestie in November. I THINK I can swap it for an AP.

I'm guessing you mean upgrade to an AP from the 3-day sports ticket??? I am not sure that you can. I got my ticket for DL when I went out for Tink through Get Sports Travel and I'm pretty sure it said on the ticket it can't be upgraded. I have to find where I put in an double check for you.

I remember someone on here saying they were told they could upgrade when they bought the ticket. When they went to upgrade they were told they couldn't. In true Disney fashion, they did upgrade it.

I agree with the others about paying out of pocket for the room, especially if you can write it off. Are there any special room rates at the Swan & Dolphin for those attending the conference?

They told me the same thing about the ticket when I purchased it, JoAnn. But I called the main line the other day (sports ticket office was closed) and they said that since I haven't used the ticket, I should be able to exchange it. I have to try again tomorrow to see if I can actually do that.

The conference will surely have a good rate for the Swolphin, but Swolphin is ineligible for Magical Express (and charges $17/day to park and a whole bunch of other really sneaky fees) and the last time we were there, I think we could only reserve FP 30 days out. It would still be a better option than paying cash at Boardwalk or Beach Club.

Thanks all for your input, everyone. Attempting to get the AP and hoping for a sale on the values was what I was leaning toward yesterday. Originally, I was definitely going to stay DVC, but I hate to "waste" the points since Benn doesn't want to go (because of all of the time that I have to spend at the conference) and I definitely don't like the idea of paying out of pocket for points. Even if I rented points for the trip, I don't think I can get them any cheaper than $10 a point on a last minute sale. That still equates to $130/night at OKW and I can definitely get a less expensive room at a value. The only thing I might still consider is to do a split stay so that I can do a few days at Beach Club. It looks like the availability might be good that week and I haven't been able to get in at BC previously.

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

Allie's picture
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I agree with everyone else. Upgrade to AP, pay cash for a Value.

AnnielovesDisney's picture
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I agree with everyone so far too. The difference in price to upgrade to AP is very little and totally worth the benefit of an AP.

MrHub's picture
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Just go it!!!!!!

alicemouse's picture
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Ok the sports ticket is canceled! I still have to buy the AP, but my MDE account is having an issue (again waiting ), so I want to get that cleared up first. Originally, all of the tickets that I bought displayed under our tickets and reservations. Then a few weeks ago, my cousin Jenn's tickets suddenly disappeared and her avatar reverted back to the blue mickey silhouette. It's not FP time yet, so I wasn't particularly panicked about it. Today, I called the nice runDisney travel people and returned my park hopper ticket. They have to refund the whole order and start again. I figured that would solve the problem with Jenn's missing tickets. Nope! Her tickets were still missing and my MVMCP ticket (purchased in a separate order) disappeared. *sigh* So I called my friends on the main Disney line. They can see all of the correct tickets, but I can only see about half of them. gaah So when I get a chance later this week, I suppose I'll be back on the phone again. I muchlove Disney, but if any other company ran their IT department the way Disney does, they'd be out of business!!

I might still do a spilt stay for the conference because it looks as though Beach Club is promising for having availability and I haven't gotten a chance to stay there yet. I feel like there's virtually no chance of getting BC for the meet up because it will be food & wine time and we couldn't get it over SWW last year either. Also we talked with my brother-in-law about the fact that we are supposed to take our nephew to SWW in May and he doesn't want him to miss too much school, so we'll only be staying for two nights on that trip instead of four. So...I have "extra" points to use! laugh

Thanks all for your input!

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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alicemouse wrote:
JoAnn C wrote:
alicemouse wrote:

The conference will surely have a good rate for the Swolphin, but Swolphin is ineligible for Magical Express (and charges $17/day to park and a whole bunch of other really sneaky fees) and the last time we were there, I think we could only reserve FP 30 days out. It would still be a better option than paying cash at Boardwalk or Beach Club.

.... Maybe, but a couple of things to keep in mind ...

_ It may not be the Magical Express - BUT Mears Transportation Service offers a $36 Roundtrip Ticket form Orlando Airport to the Swan/Dolphin (and usually any one van only has a couple of stops before making it to/from your location - I've used the service several times (you can buy the ticket at the airport or reserve it in advance online) .... You just have to call 24 hours before your departure time to schedule your pickup back to the airport.

_If_ you take Mears to the Swan/Dolphin, you wouldn't need to pay parking per day.

_AND_ if you needed a rental car to get off grounds somewhere, National and Alamo, have rental car desks at guest services.

_ While the Swan/Dolphin does charge a $23 Service fee per day - that fee includes 2 bottles of water per day (which is convenient for taking to the parks); and free high speed in room internet access (almost a necessity anymore at Disney, and also useful for conference going) as well as free access to their health club, (and _I think_ unlimited local phone calls)

I've found also that most Swan/Dolphin Rooms have mini-fridge in room which isn't always true of Some of the Disney Value resorts (I remember being told I would have to pay extra for a fridge in room when I stayed at an All Star Resort a few years back) - I can't remember precisely, but I might not have had a fridge at all.

As for Fast - pass, If you reserve directly through the Swan/Dolphin, (and not through some other discount) you would have 60-Day FastPass Access, Just like all of the other Disney Resorts. (This was true last year when I stayed there with my friend; the only reason my access was 30 day this year was because I bought a package from another travel company and didn't reserve directly through the Dolphin.

While the conference may have a discounted block, if you can swing the advanced costs, sometimes comparably, the pre-paid rate with the Swan/Dolphin, can save quite a bit - If you're certain of your stay.

Also, if you happen to be a Starwood Resorts member, you can earn points for your stay (doesn't cost anything to join).

YOU WOULD need to have or buy your own magic bands, but my sense is you've already got a magic band that you can use.

And of course the Swan/Dolphin has the convenience of being located between Epcot/Hollywood Studios.

Just some food for thought.

Good Luck with planning your trip mickey

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Ok we've got it all sorted out. Benn decided to come along for the conference trip, so no guilt for using points. yay

I'll take the first flight down on the Monday morning that the conference starts, which I was already able to book on SW for $74!! muchlove I'll check my luggage on ME and go directly to the conference. I'll miss roughly the first hour of the conference, but that will save me a night's lodging that I would have had to pay cash for and I won't have the hassle of switching rooms after just one night or having to take a bus to Studios and then switch to a boat to get to Swolphin. At lunch I'll pop over to BWV and check-in. On the last morning of the conference (Wednesday, I'll check out of BWV and check in at BEACH CLUB!!! I've really been wanting to stay there, so I'm super duper excited. Benn will fly down at some convenient time on Wednesday and join me when the conference is over. Originally I have to be home for a gymnastics competition that weekend, but I talked to my director last week and my level won't be competing at that meet, so we'll be staying in Disney until Sunday!! muchlove yay

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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This definitely calls for Monte Carlo analysis.

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Nice! Sounds like a blast, Holly! yay

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WOOOO HOOOO!!!! yay yay

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